Thakar Singh Myth Busters

Setting the Record Straight on Sant Thakar Singh

Definitions and Terminology

Ethical Lifestyle

Sant Mat teaches that the development of an ethical way of life is a helpful and necessary part of developing spiritually. In particular, Sant Mat encourages one to strive to exercise—in thought, word, and deed—the principles of truth, nonviolence, and universal love.

As a practical matter, Sant Mat suggests the following lifestyle ideals:

  • Consuming a lacto-vegetarian diet, because it shows a higher respect for life by not killing animals;
  • Avoiding alcohol and intoxicating drugs to allow better mental clarity and self-control
  • Selfless service to others (see Selfless Service)


One who has learned the Sant Mat meditation practice on inner light and sound through the initiation (see Initiation) is called an initiate. This term in itself does not confer any special significance, rather it refers to the fact that one has attended the initiation and learned the meditation practice. The initiation is available to people who have a self-commitment to practice the meditation, but an initiate afterwards is free to continue the meditation or not, to strive to maintain a higher ethical standard or not. On the one hand, this means that the initiate does not feel pressure beyond his or her own self discipline. On the other hand, an initiate represents only himself or herself through their behavior because Sant Mat respects and protects the tenet of the initiate’s freedom and independence.


Initiation, the process of learning the Sant Mat meditation practice on inner light and sound takes about three hours. It is not a rite, ritual, or ceremony, but rather a very practical introduction to the meditation method that includes one’s first meditation session. In this first session, one begins to experience the inner light and inner sound that are accessible through stilling the mind. The pre-requisites for the initiation include a commitment to oneself to strive for a high standard of ethical living (see Ethical Lifestyle), and to apply the meditation practice on a daily basis. Through the initiation, one does not become a member of any organization or body of worship; to make this point clear, people are welcomed to continue their current religious practices, rites, and rituals and to make the meditation practice an additional activity. The initiation is free of charge and requires no change to one’s family relations, friends, professional pursuits, or personal appearance. The initiation process can be conducted by the Sant Mat Master, or the instructions can be conveyed by an authorized representative in any location.


The Sant Mat Master, or Master for short, is a student of Sant Mat—like any other—who was able to achieve the highest consciousness and oneness with the higher self. A Master is able to competently convey Sant Mat theory and teach the meditation practice to others. Though there is no known external sign of inner achievement, according to Sant Mat, one test of a true Master is that he is able to provide the student an experience of inner light and inner sound at the time of initiation (see Initiation).

The student is not required to ever meet the Master, and with millions of students worldwide, any given student who wishes to, generally has an opportunity perhaps once every couple of years to see the Master if he visits locally. Meeting the Master and attending his discourses can be a source of encouragement and upliftment for the student.

A Sant Mat Master lives from his own earnings or pension, without needing financial support from his followers. He lives a simple, unostentatious lifestyle, without drawing attention to himself.


Meditation means "unwavering, one-pointed concentration.” In Sant Mat, it is a practical exercise where the student closes their eyes and withdraws their attention from the outside world and places it on the inner perception.

The mental habit to jump from thought to thought is slowly changed, and the concentration is taught to remain more and more fixed on the inner world, on the inner experiences of light and sound which become perceptible at the time of initiation (see Initiation).

The benefits of Sant Mat meditation include increased inner calmness and composure, improved feeling of harmony, diminution of fear, a feeling of peace, and—as a result of these—generally improved health.

Naturally, practice is necessary to meditate for longer periods of time of one, two, or three hours or more. Since Sant Mat meditation involves no strain, no special postures, and no external stimuli to practice, the amount of benefit increases with the amount of time spent in meditation.

Sant Mat

Sant Mat is the name for a practical meditation path whose goal is one’s self-realization as soul and oneness with the Creator. Sant Mat is also called “Meditation on the inner light and sound” because the meditation practice directs one’s attention to experiences of the inner, higher self which one perceives in meditation as sound and light. The meditation practice is silent and individual. (See Meditation)

Sant Mat meditation is learned from an adept at the practice who is called a Sant Mat Master or simply Master (see Master). Progress and attainment in Sant Mat, according to the theory, is measured by the practitioner through his or her control to still the body and mind and rise into higher consciousness. Outwardly, this progress results in the development of equanimity and compassion for one’s fellow human beings.

Sant Mat is a very individual path. Individual progress depends on one’s own self-discipline to set aside time daily to practice the meditation and to cultivate a higher standard of ethical lifestyle (see Ethical Lifestyle).

In general, regular meetings to meditate with other practitioners are known to provide support, and attending discourses given by the Master is known to be helpful to provide encouragement. Nevertheless, it is one’s own individual, private effort that is stressed in Sant Mat.

Sant Mat does not interfere with the student’s family, social, or religious life, and thus students are encouraged to continue their family, social, and religious ties and to practice the meditation as a supplementary activity. The wide variety of millions of practitioners from all walks of life and all professions attests to the openness and non-cultic nature of Sant Mat.

Selfless Service

Sant Mat teachings suggest that in the endeavor to serve selflessly, we come to know ourselves and we can put into practice the empathy and compassion that have developed through meditative practice. Thus selfless service is seen as a helping factor in developing spiritually.

Sometimes the Sankrit word seva is used as a synonym for selfless service. The benefits of selfless service have been known since time immemorial as embodied in the adage, “Selfless service is its own reward, as it exalts the human soul.”

Physical or intellectual work to benefit others without expecting a reward is an example of selfless service that Sant Mat teachings advocate. Tithing is another example of selfless service, where one gives from the fruits of one’s labors to support charitable work.

Since the benefits of selfless service come when it is done from the heart, it goes without saying that Sant Mat does not require nor pressure students to provide service, whether physically, intellectually, or financially.